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Patient Safety
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Patients and Visitors

Patient Safety

Hand washing to prevent the spread of germs is just one of many ways Montefiore medical Center ensures its patients' safety every day.

At Montefiore Medical Center, we strive to maintain the highest standards of patient care and safety. We believe that by working together with our patients, we can achieve optimum outcomes.

Preventing Mistakes

Since 1996, Montefiore has been a pioneer in electronic health records, medication safety, innovative ICU staffing and safe interdisciplinary team care practices. Our accomplishments in these areas have been instrumental in preventing errors and delivering high quality care. As a result, Montefiore has earned The Leapfrog Group's annual "Top Hospital" designation, the most competitive national hospital quality award in the country.

The "Top Hospital" recognition is given to hospitals that deliver the highest quality care by preventing medical errors, reducing mortality for high-risk procedures like heart bypass surgery and reducing hospital readmissions for patients being treated for conditions like pneumonia and heart attack.

Fire Safety

In accordance with the rules of the City of New York Fire Department and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 101 Life Safety Code fire drills are conducted quarterly, at least one per shift in hospitals to ensure that the staff are aware of their responsibilities in the event of fire or smoke.

During fire drills, the fire alarm pull boxes are activated and will transmit a coded audible alarm signal throughout the facility. Your cooperation with the nursing staff during fire drills is greatly appreciated.

The Patient's Role in Patient Safety

As a patient, you also have a responsibility in maintaining your own safety at Montefiore, including:

  • Making sure you use the call bell if your condition changes and you need help.
  • Making sure your doctor knows about all medicines you are taking-prescriptions or over-the-counter.
  • Making sure your doctor knows about any allergies and adverse reactions you have had to medicines.
  • Making sure you share all your health information with your doctor.
  • Making sure that you consulted with your nurse before taking a walk. Otherwise, remain on your unit at all times. If your whereabouts are unknown, you may be discharged and might have to return via the emergency room.

Speak Up For Safety Sake

Ask your doctors about their specialized training that qualifies them to treat your illness. Gather information about your condition from your doctors and nurses. Write down important information. Then, educate yourself about your diagnosis, the medical tests you are undergoing, and your treatment plan.

State your questions, mention your concerns, and if you do not understand the answers, ask again. It is your body and you have the right to know. Do not ever be afraid to speak up, whether you are concerned about getting the right medications, having the right test or having surgery on the right spot.

Expect your caregivers to introduce themselves and that they always wear their identification badges. Make sure they check your identification band before they administer any test or medication. Speak up if you have not received a medicine you normally receive at a certain time. And if you did not see them do so, remind your caregivers to wash their hands.

Pay attention to the care you are receiving. Make sure you are getting the right treatments and medications from the right healthcare professionals. Tell your nurse or doctor if something does not seem right.

Know what medications you take and why you take them. Also ask about their side effects. If you do not recognize a medication, make sure it is for you. Ask about medicines by mouth before you swallow, and read the bags of IV (intravenous) fluids. Find out how long the IV fluid should drip, and tell your nurse if the drip seems too slow or fast. It is always a good idea to ask how well different medications work together.

Read all forms carefully before you sign them, and speak up if you want to understand the forms in your primary language if it is not English.

Ask a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate and make sure they understand what is important to you. Your advocate can ask questions you may not think of, and can help you remember answers to questions. Ask this person to stay with you as much as possible, so they can speak up for you if you cannot.

Use a clinic, surgery center or other healthcare organizations that have undergone rigorous on-site evaluations such as Montefiore Medical Center. Ask your doctor which facility offers the best care for your condition. Before you leave the hospital, ask about follow-up care, and make sure you understand all of the instructions.

Participate in all decisions about your treatment. You are the center of the healthcare team. You and your doctor should agree on exactly what will be done during each step of your care. Ask what new medications or tests are likely to achieve. Keep copies of your medical records from other hospitalizations, and share them with your caregivers. Do not be afraid to ask for a second opinion. Your doctor will support your request.

Pain Management

During the course of your hospital stay at Montefiore, you may experience episodes of pain or discomfort. Treating pain is an important part of your care, and it is your right as a patient to receive information about pain and pain relief measures from concerned staff and to be under the care of healthcare professionals who respond quickly to your reports of pain.

Pain relief can help you recover faster, and it is important to talk with your doctor or nurse as soon as pain begins. Tell them all the places it hurts, how strong the pain feels, what makes the pain worse and what eases the pain. Ask them what medicines they can give you to relieve your pain, and what, if any, side effects that you can expect.

Sometimes a patient is concerned about becoming dependent on pain medications. Whether you take pain medications for a short or long time, you will be following your doctor's advice and getting the treatment you need. Patients rarely become addicted when they take medications as prescribed. Other patients may feel they are complaining and are reluctant to tell their doctor or nurse about their pain.

Please know it is your right to pain relief, and it is easier to manage your pain in its early stages, before it might become severe.

Infection Control

Infection control for each patient is selected by the patient's condition, including whether or not they have a multidrug-resistant organism (MDRO) infection. Some efforts practiced by the healthcare team or encouraged of patients include:

Hand Washing
Hand washing is the single most important way to prevent the spread of germs. Healthcare workers wash their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner before and after treating each patient.

Protective Clothing
Healthcare workers and visitors wear gloves, a gown and sometimes a mask when entering the room of a patient with an MDRO infection. The clothing is removed before leaving the room.

Sterile Drapes
When using central lines, or central venous catheters, the patient is covered with a sterile drape (a large, sterile sheet) except for the spot where the line is to be inserted.

Sterile Skin
Before the central line is placed, skin is cleaned with an antiseptic solution.

Vein Choice
Whenever possible, a central line is placed in a vein that has a lower risk of infection.

Get Help
Call your doctor right away if you have a central line and develop redness, swelling, warmth or pain at the tubing site; drainage, pus, or bleeding from the tubing site; or swelling under the skin at the tubing site.

Private Rooms
Patients with MDRO infection are placed in a private room or share a room with others who have the same infection.

Daily Cleaning
All patient care items, equipment and room surfaces are properly cleaned and disinfected every day.

Respiratory Hygiene
All coughing or sneezing persons take the following steps to prevent the spread of infection:

  • Sneezing
    Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue and dispose of used tissue in waste containers.
  • Coughing
    Use a mask if coughing (when a mask can be tolerated).
  • Distance
    Sand or sit at least three feet from other persons, if possible.

Monitoring
Montefiore always monitors the spread of MDROs and infections, and educates caregivers on the best ways to prevent them.

Fall Prevention

Montefiore Medical Center has a program to prevent falls that includes maintaining a safe, clutter free environment, patient education around fall prevention, and hourly rounding for those patients at risk for falling.

Things that you can do to prevent falls include:

  • Keeping items you use often within easy reach.
  • With the nurse present, practice using the call button before you really need it. Keep it within reach, and do not be afraid to use it when needed.
  • Know how to turn the light on and off from your bed.
  • Know how to use the bed control.
  • Do not get up on your own. Call for help, even to use the bathroom.
  • Sit up slowly and with help.
  • Do not try to move IV poles or other equipment on your own.
  • Use your walking aid as instructed by the staff.
  • Be sure to use handrails in bathrooms or in hallways.